Last night as I was getting out of my car, I heard a succession of gunshots. I slammed the door shut and yelled,"those were gunshots," at least four times before I was convinced that everyone in the car knew they were gunshots.

Most of you have heard about the tragic shooting that happened in Ogden last night. I won't give the details here--you can get those on the local news sites, but it hit close to home. Literally for me.

Through the years, I've watched people I'm close to lose family members--children, grandparents, siblings and parents. I've lost some of my own. I've lost so many friends and family members, in fact, that I once wrote a poem called "Persephone," which explored the idea that I am an unwitting connection to the underworld since I've said goodbye to so many loved ones. This brought to mind another one of my favorite poems--this one by Seamus Heaney--in which he writes of his own personal loss. It seems that extremes make us want to write. It's harder to find inspiration in comfort. I've written many poems about the death of my brother. It's therapeutic. It's healing. For me, it's necessary.

Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying--
He had always taken funerals in his stride--
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble,'
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.